Hands-on with the Galaxy View: A huge $599 screen for streaming

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hands-on with the Galaxy View: A huge $599 screen for streaming.

Is it a TV? The 18.4-inch HD 1920 x 1080 display will dwarf Apple’s 12.9-inch offering, and has been designed as a viable lightweight and portable – at least around the home – alternative to a TV.

Samsung claims the Galaxy View will have a battery life of up to eight hours of video playback, and can be propped up to watch films and programmes on its inbuilt kick stand. It will ship with Samsung’s new custom user interface Family Square running Android 5.1 Lollipop, which is optimised for the larger display, a 1.6 GHz Octa-core processor and 2.1MP front-facing camera for selfies and video chatting. The tablet is practically meant for everything that a connected television could do, from video, music, games, to even social communication with video calls. Don’t get us wrong: it’s still a little silly and will continue to inspire endless Twitter jokes, but the View has the chance to carve out a curious (and possibly lucrative) new niche. Samsung is also offering a dedicated Family Square feature that provides customised dashboard to keep in touch with friends and family. “At Samsung, we are committed to creating new possibilities and bringing our consumers the best mobile experience,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Business. “We are very excited to introduce the new Galaxy View, providing an entirely new way of consuming mobile video and entertainment.” Recently, Lenovo introduced a mammoth 27-inch Yoga Home 900 tablet that could easily replace the conventional television, while Apple has its own iPad Pro at 12.9 inches competing in the category.

Google, on the other hand, introduced its Pixel C, which is a convertible device and is the first Android Marshmallow-based tablet built entirely by Google. In fact, it’s quite the opposite — it’s a smart screen that’s basically been designed to make goofing off and watching videos as simple as possible. Otherwise, the simple process of shooting off an email will probably require you to (comfortably) cradle the View on your lap and cope with an enormous on-screen keyboard. The company doesn’t expect anyone to lug around this device as they would with an iPad or Galaxy Tab S2, but rather it’s meant to be moved around inside the home. Once you fire breeze through the usual Google account sign in, you’re dropped into a grid of content services whose apps you can download from the Play Store for quick access.

Shortcuts to all the usual suspects — Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Twitch, Crackle and AOL On — are here, and joined by yet more lifestyle content providers like Lifetime, PBS Kids, ESPN and the History Channel. The display buffs reading might moan about the display only running at 1080p, but really — there isn’t a ton of Ultra HD content available yet, and sticking a crazy pixel-dense screen would’ve meant saying goodbye to the View’s $599 staring price tag. It’s a big screen and you’re not going to be pressing your face right up against the glass, so most of your content is going to come across crisply and brightly. You can also use the microUSB port on the side (the only bit of wired I/O to be found) to link up additional storage devices or use the View as a secondary display with the right kind of adapter. Samsung designers sort of bristled when the possibility was brought up; as far as they’re concerned, the View is first and foremost a streaming machine.

The last gadget I owned with a handle was an ancient blueberry iBook so picking up the view and walking around the office with it was a neat little blast from the past — you’ll definitely feel the View’s 5 pounds digging into your fingers after a while, though. That said, no one seemed to bat at eyelash at me while I carried this thing through Penn Station in the middle of the night, though I can’t say the same for when I used it to read an Oliver Sacks book on a commuter train into New Jersey.

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